There is a lovely story about the writer Ernest Hemingway that may or may not be true.
Either way, it’s a good one.
One evening he was dining with friends at Luchow’s restaurant in New York.
In the course of their conversation, they discussed what the ideal length of a novel should be.
As they chatted back and forth, Hemingway interjected with the bold claim that he could write a novel in just six words.
The others bet him ten dollars that he couldn’t.
Hemingway then grabbed a pen and a napkin and jotted down the following: “For sale: baby shoes. Never worn.”
If those six words didn’t move you when you read them then you must be a cold-hearted soul!
One can imagine his friends were equally in shock, not to mention ten dollars worse off.
This brilliant bit of mini-fictional writing has spawned many six word writing competitions around the world. It also acts as an extreme example of the fact that you should never make the length of a story any longer than it needs to be.
Don’t be afraid to apply a touch of ruthlessness to the editing process. Your story will be all the better for it.